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SCOTLAND'S GREATEST STORY

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FAMILY RESEARCH
at the 
SCOTLANDS PEOPLE
CENTRE
 
 
The primary source for initial research into your family history is the
ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh.
 

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Births, Marriages and Deaths (1855 - present day)
 
The statutory registration of births, marriages and deaths began in
1855. The information contained within the records varied within the first five years, but
after 1860 can be generically summarised as follows:
 
BIRTHS: name of baby, where born, name of mother, name of father, where and
when they were married, usual abode, name of informant, when and where
registered, and by whom.
 
MARRIAGES: location of marriage and denomination type for ceremony, name of
groom, occupation, age, address at where resident, name of parents, (and whether
still alive), name of bride, occupation, age, address at where resident, name of
parents, (and whether still alive), witnesses, minister presiding, when and where
registered, and by whom.
 
DEATHS: name of deceased, any marital relationship, age at death, where died,
usual residence, name of parents, when and where registered, and by whom.
 
NB: Occasionally entries in the GROS register will have a note beside them
asking that you consult the REGISTER FOR CORRECTED ENTRIES. These registers
contain updates from an original entry, sometimes with corrections, sometimes
with more information, and are always worth consulting.
 
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Birth, Christening and Marriage sources (Pre-1855)
 
The sources used to deal with births, marriages and deaths are those primarily 
created by the Scottish Kirk, namely the old parochial registers (OPRs) and
the kirk session minutes. The OPRs are of most use, recording the births,
christenings and marriages (ususally by the notification of banns) for the parishioners.
 
 
Birth example, from Perth, of my great great great great grandfather:

Sconieburn March Seventh One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine was born William Paton, Lawfully procreated betwixt John Paton weaver and Ann Watson his spouse and baptized March Eleventh by the Revd Mr Ian Moody Minr at Perth.

 
 
Marriage example from Perth:

FEBRUARY 1798

Perth the Third of February One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety eight contracted William Paton, Soldier in the second battalion of Breadalbanes Fencibles and Christian Hay, Daughter to the Deceased Lauchlan Hay, Resident in Perth, Parties both in this Parish Elder Thomas Robertson

The Persons before named were regularly proclaimed and married the seventh day of February said year by Mr Duncan MacFarlan Minister of the Gaelic Chapel in Perth.

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Deaths (Pre-1855)
 
Deaths are sometimes noted in old parish records, though not usually directly - they 
tend to be found in mort-cloth lists or in the session minutes, usually recording the
payment made for the burial.
 
 
Monumental Inscriptions
 
New Register House also holds a large collection of publications containing monumental
inscriptions from throughout Scotland, particularly for the pre-1855 period, which can help to
break through many brick walls in your research.
 
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Census Entries (1841 - 1901)
 
A census was first taken in the United Kingdom in 1801, and thereafter every ten
years to the present day, with the only exception being 1941, during the Second
World War. The census returns for 1801 to 1831 are by and large of no use to
the family historian, as they merely collated statistical returns for each geographic
area that was enumerated. There are exceptions to this rule, in that some returns
from 1821 and 1831 did list inhabitants, and can be found in some of the old
parochial registers held in the National Archives, whilst others were recorded
in Kirk Session minutes, located at the National Archives of Scotland. They are
few and far between, and the first census of real use to the genealogist is that of 1841.
 
The Scottish census returns from 1841 to 1901 are held at the National Archives
of Scotland and contain valuable biographical information for each person noted.
 
The 1841 returns contain the least amount of information, in that the returns
do not indicate kinship, and the ages of adults are rounded down to the nearest
five years. But after this, the records are amazingly precise, and it is possible
to track a family's whereabouts and social situation over a period of 50 years.
 
 
Census Entries (after 1901)
 
Returns in Scotland from 1911 onwards are closed by the 100 years rule, and cannot
be viewed at present. However, there are movements in the rest of the UK towards a
change in this policy. From January 2007 it will be possible to make an application to
the National Archives in England and Wales for a record from 1911 to be released -
though at present this will be at the extortionate charge of 45. They will be available
online at a cheaper rate from approximately 2009, three years earlier than originally
planned, due to a recent legal challenge.
 
Also, in Ireland, Northern Irish and Southern Irish census returns from 1911 can be viewed
in Dublin, in the Irish Republic, though ironically enough, they cannot be viewed in
Belfast. The census returns from 1841 to 1891 no longer exist in Ireland, due to both
official pulping of many of the records, and the notorious Four Courts fire of 1922, that
saw many of the island's records destroyed).
 
 

SCOTLAND'S
Greatest Story

Chris Paton, BA (Hons), HND, PGD (Genealogical Studies)
22 Lindsay Crescent, Largs, North Ayrshire, Scotland, KA30 9JR

Tel: 0044 1475 674118
Mob/Cell: 0044 7941 118183
 
E-mail:

scotland ancestry family tree genealogy

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